18 May

Here is a selection of some recent facts and stories about language learning today.

Firstly, let’s start mentioning the official Chinese language day, that has taken place not long ago. This event is celebrated internationally with events such as calligraphy exhibitions. It is held in the United Nation’s headquarters of New York for example, where activities that include painting expositions and traditional opera are organised. The chosen date coincides with an important day in China when its inhabitants honour, Cangjie, a man considered to be the inventor of the country's written characters.  

We can also have a look at some of the most spoken and learned languages nowadays. At the top of the list of the ones with the largest number of speakers are English, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and French. In general, we can mention that English, French and Spanish’s learning popularity is doing well. We will look at this more in detail in the paragraphs below. 

The number of French learners is increasing, with 321 million Francophones in total estimated for this year. There are in fact now 3 times more people in the world who learn this language than Spanish. The number of people who study the first one is very important in parts of Europe such as Spain, Italy, Germany and Romania. It is also growing in the American continent, Asia and Oceania. It is worth mentioning that the launching of new television series tends to have an impact on the number of learners for the language of those programs’ country of origin and French is no exception to this nowadays. New series such as “Lupin” and “Emily in Paris” have played an important role in that matter.

On the other hand, there are also places that have not seen an increase in people studying French. It is the case for Thailand, for example, where Chinese and English have become more in demand. The interest in French is also decreasing in Europe, where the first foreign language people tend to learn is English. 

Not surprisingly for the world's lingua franca, its numbers of learners are high and it tends to be the second studied in European countries, after people’s mother tongues. The quantity of people in the world wanting to start courses outside their homeland is also rising and the majority of them want to go to universities located in Anglo-Saxon countries. In addition, English is being increasingly used as the principal way of communication in a lot of economic sectors in the world. 

We can also have a look at online learning. For this type of classes, Spanish is predicted to increase in great numbers. In addition, English studying using clouds is also foreseen to grow considerably. This form of teaching is when students have access to their course through a shared space in the internet. 

What about some other languages that we have not discussed previously? Latin and Greek, for example, are becoming less popular in Belgium among high school students. The number of them learning the first tends to fall as they move towards the latest years of secondary school. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning Korean, which is doing well in terms of popularity. Just in the same way than the shows previously named, the new South Korean series “Squid Game” has had a significant impact on its number of learners. This Asian country's culture has recently gained interest among a lot of people in the world, with growing enthusiasm for other "K-dramas", music, as well as films.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading through this informative compilation. Whether it is official language days, popular new TV shows encouraging the interest in other cultures, the decrease in the number of students choosing ancient forms of communication as options in school, the interest in foreign languages depends on a lot of factors and it is captivating to have a look at different directions that it is taking across the world.